Cuffed(8)

By: Joanna Blake


I ignored the little thrill of anticipation I felt as we walked to the car. I was going to be spending some quality time getting to know little Miss Casey Jones.

Starting with the ride back to headquarters.

I opened the passenger side door and watched as she slid in. I stifled a smirk as she buckled up. She crossed her legs at the ankles and stared straight ahead.

She seemed like a good girl, with her hair neatly braided over one shoulder and her neatly manicured nails.

It made me want to mess up her hair. Feel her nails scratch my back. Ruffle those perfect feathers of hers.

In the filthiest way possible.

But I also wanted to find out how she ended up working at The Jar. And why Mason said he was responsible for her.

And I had almost an hour to find out.





Cassandra





“How do you know Mason?”

I was silent, staring out the window. Honestly, I felt like I was in shock. I guess that’s what happened when you saw someone get slaughtered in front of you like a pig.

“Casey.”

There was such a firm authority in his voice. It made me want to answer him, at the same time it made me want to defy him. I’d been such a well-behaved child. The first to raise her hand, the last to talk in class.

But after I got shuffled into the foster care system, well, I had stopped trusting authority figures.

Living with an outlaw biker had only deepened that sense of distrust.

“He’s my uncle.”

“He is?”

I shrugged.

“Kind of. He’s a distant relation. He took me in.”

I had to tell him something. And that was as close to the truth as I could get without saying ‘I was a teenage runaway and he saved me from a life on the streets.’

Of course, in my case I hadn’t been on the streets all that long. A week at most, but when I thought back on those days, it felt like much longer. I was more than lucky. It was a miracle I hadn’t wound up in a ditch, or worse, getting trafficked like so many teenage runaways did.

If this guy thought I was going to put Mason in danger after saving me from all that, well he had another thing coming.

“He’s not bad. For a biker.”

I shot him a look. That was an odd thing to say. He was playing good cop, bad cop with me. He had to be.

But he looked sincere.

“What’s your name?”

I don’t know why I asked, or why I cared. I was supposed to be a brick wall. Silent. Unless I wanted to get myself and the only person I cared about left on Earth killed.

Worse than killed. Gutted. Slaughtered.

I shivered, thinking of the guy in the parking lot. Hearing him beg.

“DeWitt.” He cleared his throat. “Connor DeWitt.”

I said nothing, sinking lower into the seat. I was so tired but there was no way I could sleep. I could feel the adrenalin pumping through my body. Every inch of me, every nerve was awake.

I closed my eyes and immediately saw Dante bending over the begging man. I saw him come close, seeing me in the darkness. I felt him stroke my cheek.

I’d spent twenty minutes in the bathroom washing my face after that. But I could still feel his touch.

I shivered again, wrapping my arms around my shoulders.

“Are you cold?”

He turned the heat up without waiting for my answer. Then he did something so unexpected it took me completely by surprise.

Federal Agent Connor Dewitt draped his expensive looking jacket over me like a blanket.





Connor





I sipped my coffee, staring through the one way mirror.

Casey Jones was sitting behind a heavy steel table, bolted to the floor. With her long, graceful neck and dewy skin, she looked utterly out of place in such a cold, industrial setting.

She looked like she should be running through a Goddamn field of flowers. Or riding a horse in one of those soap commercials. Or… I don’t know, sitting by a fire surrounded by kittens.

With a man’s arms around her.

I realized that the man in my mind’s eye was way too familiar. I’d pictured myself holding her. Where the hell was that coming from? She was one of them. Don’t be fooled by those big, beautiful eyes.

Focus Dewitt.

I opened the door.

“I got you a coffee.”

She looked up at me, her face frightened. Again I thought, she does not belong here. But I was the one who had brought her in.

“Let’s start at the beginning. You came in for your shift at six pm.”

She nodded and tucked her hair behind her ear. The gesture was so childlike, I almost flinched. She really was barely old enough to be here without a parent.

But she didn’t have parents. She had Mason.

“Yes.”

“And during the course of the evening, did you notice anything strange. Any altercations?”

She shook her head, pulling her knees up and wrapping her arms around them. Again, I felt a flush of guilt. She looked like a little girl, playing dress up.

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